Kiris: The tunes that will improve your study game

Blogger: Kiris Apelt

Kiris is originally from a grain and cattle property in Tara, QLD. She lives and works in Toowoomba and completed a Bachelor of Business, majoring in marketing and leadership management, in 2017. She loves a good game of Rugby Union, supporting either the Wallabies or the Reds, lattes, travelling, and she spends too much money on fashion!

Our taste in music is one of the first ways that we express our individuality. A passion for music can motivate and inspire us throughout our lives. Whether you’re a procrastinator, constantly feeling like Cher and wishing you could turn back time, or organised like Sam Hunt, which means you can take your time, music is often what gets us through those long study sessions

We all have our own preferred style of music; songs that give us all types of feelings, songs that motivate us or affect our mood. But, while cranking up the volume of our favourite song is often one of the first things that many of us do before settling in to study, are you aware there are tunes that can actually improve your study game, according to your personality? Here’s how you can use music to boost your next study session, no matter how you study.

‘If I Could Turn Back Time’ - Cher. The benefits of music for the procrastinator.

Do you often sit down to study, only to find yourself distracted before even getting started? Listening to uplifting music has been proven to be a powerful way to fight the distractions and escape the onset of procrastination. Research states that listening to uplifting music ‘can elevate your energy level and get you into the “I can do anything” mindset’, helping you to get things ticked off your to-do list (Rychla, 2017). So, turn up those mood boosting tunes that will stimulate your creative work, lift you up and ignite new ideas, so you don’t wish you could turn back time. My top three tunes for the procrastinators are:

1. ‘End of the Line’ – Travelling Wilburys.
2. ‘Dancing in the Dark’ – Bruce Springsteen.
3. ‘It’s My Life’ – Bon Jovi.

‘Take Your Time’ - Sam Hunt. Music for the organised.

What else has the ability to help you visualise better, feel less anxious, improve your memory, and better manage your time and stress like music? (Ancheta, 2018). The ‘Sam Hunt’ personality is the highly productive and organised type that every uni student aspires to be. If this sounds like you, cue the music and let it assist you with your planning and organising, preferably at the beginning of the semester (and not the day before your assessment deadline!). Top tunes for anyone who identifies with this student personality include:

1. Nature sounds, which can help to improve your cognitive skills and boost your mood (Holland, 2019).
2. Acoustic music, to assist you when you’re completing tasks that require problem solving (Holland, 2019).
3. Instrumental music, which is proven to ease the stress of students when in the middle of a busy semester or reading through course content. (Garcia, 2018).

‘Chase That Feeling’ - Hilltop Hoods. Music for those chasing their graduation or that end of exams feeling.

If you fall in the Hilltop Hoods category, you clearly love the feeling of finishing things, but you need the motivation of music to help you chase that end goal. Just being a university student, doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re driven to study; but turning up the music to get you in the study zone is often just what you need. Recent research has found on numerous occasions that finding the ‘right songs with the right lyrics’ can be the perfect motivator (Davis, 2019). Here are our three favourites:

1. ‘Beat it’ – Michael Jackson. A reminder that those exams are about to be defeated, and you’ll be ready to graduate.
‘So beat it, just beat it!’
2. ‘Imagine’ – John Lennon. Perhaps the most motivational song to remind you of that end goal - imagine the day when it’s all over!’
3. ‘The Man’ – Aloe Blacc. The perfect song to help you work towards your graduation, a moment you can celebrate after you’ve gone through it all and given your studies your best.
‘Yeah you can tell everybody. Go ahead and tell everybody. You’re the Man (Woman)!’

‘Don’t Stop the Music’ - Rihanna. Music for those who can’t do without.

Often, music can help you feel better during the tough times, during exam periods or when you’re carrying a heavy assignment load. While it has been found that music can help students beat stress or anxiety when studying, in some cases students have also found that ‘music helps them with memorisation’, perfect for when you’re studying for your exams (Davis, 2018). There are no specific songs tailored to this personality, but music that is soothing and relaxing can be the most beneficial during crunch time. Some of my favourite soothing songs for you are:

1. ‘Orinoco Flow’ – Enya.
2. ‘Hall of Fame’ – RUNAGROUND.
3. ‘Fast Car’ – Boyce Avenue.

‘Don’t Stop ‘til You Get Enough’ - Michael Jackson. Music for those who don’t give up.

Whether you’re not feeling like your usual self, or you’re not 100% satisfied with the state of your assignment, there are over 97 million songs available in the world, and too many to count that contain just the lyrics you need to motivate you to keep going and get through your study session (Overdeck, 2018). Our top three personal favourites are:

1. ‘Survivor’ – Destiny’s Child. Just as the lyrics read: ‘I’m gon’ work harder’.
2. ‘Lose Yourself’ – Eminem. For when life is like a boxing match and you’re preparing yourself mentally,
‘You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow’.
3. ‘Don’t Give it Up’ – Six60. Just the words that you need to hear with some extra beat to motivate you to keep going.

Whether you’re looking for some tunes to motivate you to finish that assignment, or to help you get organised for the semester ahead, @usqedu on Spotify has a playlist for every study occasion. So, check them out now, and start compiling your own playlist to get you through your next study session!

Ancheta, Michi. (2018). ‘8 Brilliant Benefits of Listening to Music While Studying’. Career Addict. Retrieved January 9, 2019 from

Davis, Jessica. (2019). ‘Best Motivational Songs for Studying’. Beat the CPA. Retrieved January 9, 2019 from

Davis, Nicky. (2019). ‘Is it Good to Listen to Music While Studying?’ Retrieved January 9, 2019 from

Garcia, Emmanuel. (2018). ‘The Benefits of Studying with Music’. Florida National University. Retrieved January 30, 2019 from

Holland, Emily. (2019). ‘5 Types of Music to Enhance Focus and Productivity’. The Chopra Center. Retrieved January 9, 2019 from

Rychla, Lucie. (2017). ‘Listen to Music and Eliminate Procrastination While Working from Home’. Survey Bee. Retrieved January 9, 2019 from


USQ Spotify playlists 

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